- FBI agents found human skulls, spinal cords, femurs, and hip bones in a Kentucky man’s home, a criminal complaint says.
- The FBI said they also found a link to the Harvard morgue’s human remains trafficking scheme.
- The morgue manager was indicted last month on charges of selling human remains on the black market.
FBI agents searched the home of a Kentucky man as part of an investigation into human remains trafficking, and found “approximately 40 human skulls, spinal cords, femurs, and hip bones,” according to court documents.
James Nott was arrested on July 11, after the FBI located the human remains in his home, along with firearms, inert grenades, and body armor. A criminal complaint alleged that Nott was part of a broader network involved in “the sale and transportation of fraudulently obtained human remains.”
When FBI agents arrived at Nott’s home to search it, they asked him if any other people were home. Nott replied, “Only my dead friends,” according to the criminal complaints.
The agents then searched Nott’s home and found a number of the human skulls “decorated around the furniture,” including one skull with a head scarf wrapped around it and another skull on top of Nott’s mattress. They also found a Harvard Medical School bag, the criminal complaint said.
Federal prosecutors indicted the Harvard Medical School’s morgue manager last month, alleging that he and several co-conspirators stole the remains of people who’d donated their bodies to Harvard’s anatomical gifts program and sold them on the black market.
That network of people trafficked in “heads, brains, skin, bones, and other human remains,” according to an indictment filed against Harvard’s morgue manager, Cedric Lodge. Lodge even sold dissected faces and hired a man to tan human skin “to create leather” — and other remains even ended up being sold in a doll shop in Salem, Massachusetts, named “Kat’s Creepy Creations,” according to court documents.
The FBI said Nott was using a public Facebook page with the name “William Burke” to post pictures of human remains for sale. The FBI recovered messages between Nott and another person discussing a transaction — the person sent Nott messages like, “How much total for the couple and the last video you sent plus the spines?”
The FBI said that person Nott was communicating with ultimately got busted by local police, and tipped them off to a broader network of people involved in human remains trafficking. One of those people was Lodge, the Harvard morgue manager, the FBI said.
Nott has since been charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and told FBI agents during a Mirandized interview that he owned an AK-47 rifle and a revolver he bought in a garage sale. Nott pleaded guilty to multiple felony weapons charges in 2011 and is not permitted to own firearms, according to court records.
Nott is currently in the custody of the United States Marshals Service and has not yet issued a plea. His public defender did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.